Freshwomen were recently evacuated by campus facilities from their rooms in Warren Olney Hall because of a pest infestation.
After several months of attempting to control a wasp problem that has lasted for more than a semester, housing officials told students to change dorm rooms so that campus facilities could take action.
According to Paul Richards, director of campus facilities, the wasps appear to have entered Olney through an opening in the building under the decorative balcony outside. They seem to have “attempted to find safety from insecticide toxins in rooms below the balcony, and began to plague the girls increasingly.
Once inside the rooms, students said that the wasps appeared in greater numbers and acted frantically.
Freshwoman Athena Davis said the wasps appeared as if they were dancing on the walls.
“It was like they were drunk,” added freshwoman Vanessa Yasui.
Unsuccessful attempts to exterminate the wasps were made before students were relocated. According to Richards, the method used by the contracted pest control agency didn’t work because the infestation in the girls rooms could not be treated and vanquished immediately.
Students said campus facilities will replace the drywall in the old rooms because the wasps began nesting in the wall cavities. This drywall restoration process was the main reason behind student relocation.
However, they said a lack of moving assistance on behalf of officials made it difficult for them to relocate.
“We had to jump through hoops practically,” said Davis.
Davis and other students said they were given little help with things such as phone and key changes as well as moving furniture.
Yasui agreed and said, “I found that I didn’t really want to move out because it was so much of a hassle.”
Students who occupied the affected rooms in previous years may have experienced one or two wasps, however, they never reported a problem of this magnitude, said Richards.
Yet, according to Richards, the wasps and other pests aren’t a rare occurrence at all and complaints are common. “They’re a constant issue for us,” he said.
Built in 1917, Olney is the oldest of the four traditional residence halls at Mills, and is not the only building to deal with pests. Because of its age, Richards said Mills is hard hit by infestations because critters that we consider pests have been seeking refuge in campus buildings for many years.
In addition to age, Richards also said that “nature is pretty well pushed out of the city except for Mills,” which is why infestations seem so intense at Mills. He added, “we’re here with them.”
According to Richards, the best thing students can do in a situation like this is to keep their eyes open, and report any infestations to campus facilities immediately.